This writer has said it numerous times and will say it again, the best new artists in music at the moment are coming straight outta Australia. The land down under has been pumping out some incredibly entertaining bands for a few years now, and one of the more notable indie bands to come from Sydney, Gang of Youths, made their presence known on Monday night with a wildly energetic performance at Mercury Lounge in New York’s Lower East Side.
Their gig at Mercury was show number two out of three of their February residency in New York, which wraps up at Rough Trade in Brooklyn on February 27. For this show though, fans packed into the smaller venue to see the group of rocking Aussies who earned five ARIA Music Award nominations in 2015, following the release of their debut album, The Positions. They played a handful of tunes from that album, as well as a few new tracks to take their wildly entertaining show well into the late hours of an ambitious Monday night.
The band is not about one person. They work together phenomenally as a unit. They’re loud, they’re tight, and they’re all natural performers. As the frontman and the face of the band however, David Le’aupepe may be one of the best rising performers in the business. He’s impressively light on his feet for being a bigger guy, and his body frame is more fitting for a career as a rugby player rather than your standard skinny looking rock and roller. That doesn’t stop him from dancing around stage better than most singers and guitarists you’ll see in rock bands these days. His brooding vocals with that deep Australian accent, along with his long and messy hair, almost gives him a resemblance to the late Heath Ledger, which would probably explain the dozens of women who were pressed up against the first few rows of the audience for the show.
The term Gang of Youths comes from Le’aupepe’s love for Sonic Youth and Gang of Four. They also rise up to their name in a more literal sense, as a gang of very tight sounding, youthful musicians from a land far away where whatever is in the water, makes for producing very, very good rock and roll bands.